Will the last person turn off the lights?
As the Research Design Service closes its doors, we take a look at what it's achieved over the last 15 years and what comes next.
“Don’t be the uncle that only comes to see you for Christmas!”: improving researcher engagement with the voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise sector in social care research
For our August blog we hear why it’s important to involve the voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise sector in health and social care research, and how researchers can improve their engagement with the sector.
“What’s going on, I feel a bit wobbly?!”: Crafting power dynamics at a public involvement event
Public involvement events can bring us together - but when planning these events, do we sometimes default to comfort zones that keep us apart? Alex Bevin-Nicholls, Beauty Tshuma and Helen Close from the RDS North East and North Cumbria share reflections from a recent event and tips to help you shift power dynamics.
Literature searching essentials
A crucial part of any research funding application is conducting a thorough literature search of your topic area. This can seem like a daunting task, but don’t worry – help is at hand! The NIHR Research Design Service has recently created a collection of literature-searching resources to support you, and our blog this month provides you with an overview and description of how each resource can help.
Hot off the press! Resources from the RDS Social Care Research Grant Development and Writing Retreat now available
Introducing our social care resources collection, which includes recorded presentations from this year's RDS Social Care Grant Development and Writing Retreat. The resources offer a broad range of guidance, toolkits, webinar recordings, and top tips on design, research context, and topic themes to support the development of your application.
Take the TRAM!
Introducing the Translational Research Application Manager (TRAM) toolkit, designed to help researchers deal with the complexities of translational research and application writing.
Impact – what do you want to change for the better with your research project?
The language of impact can be confusing, with terminology to get to grips with, but the good news is that you are probably doing it already. Our blog this month highlights the 6 main areas to think about so that you plan for impact at the research design stage of your project.
Remote Trial Delivery
Delivering trials remotely may be the way that trials are delivered for the foreseeable future. Our blog this month explores the strengths, opportunities, and challenges they present.
Researcher, adviser, committee member – we’re all on the same side
RDS advisers use their writing skills, methodological expertise, and funding panel observation knowledge to help you design and develop the strongest possible research project and funding application, so that service users may in the future benefit from your ideas. As the new year starts dip into our blogs to find out how we can support you on every stage of your journey to submitting that successful funding application.
Cultural competence and inclusivity in research
Our blog this month takes a closer look at cultural competence. Cultural competence is a process that helps us become more aware of the subconscious stereotypes, biases, prejudices, and judgments that we may hold towards communities. It's vital, as research seeks to be more diverse in all areas of research, that researchers are aware and reflect on this to improve the quality and success of their research.
Social care research: What is it? Where to go? What to do?
Our blog this month lifts the veil of social care research, helping to highlight the differences to health research. We show that the social care sector is actually a collection of sectors working outside, but also with, the NHS. It has a different language and research questions need to be pitched in a different way, with a focus on well-being outcomes rather than cures or successful treatments. Find out what help is available and link into our social care grant writing retreat running in March 2023.
Real world implementation
Implementation Science tries to understand how to successfully ensure innovations make the journey from idea through scientific evidence to adoption, where they can start benefitting society. Implementation needs to be locally adapted and continually optimised to ensure it meets the changing demands and settings of the real-world. Read our blog to find out more and follow the links to the implementation secrets series.
Beyond interviews and focus groups – the value of innovative qualitative designs
There is a welcoming trend for qualitative design methods to be included and valued as part of the methodology to investigate a research question. Our blog this month goes one step further and calls for researchers to look beyond the more familiar qualitative methods to more innovative designs that can enhance your project even further.
From plateaus to launching pads: involving people affected by dementia in research
In the last few years, there has been a concerted effort to improve the inclusion of under-served groups in clinical research. The barriers to involving people affected by dementia has its own set of challenges. Our guest blog this month highlights the work that has gone into developing key processes to facilitate inclusion and introduces both the 382 Research Network volunteers and the pioneering coproduced Care Home Action Researcher in residence model.
Capturing the Contribution
Public involvement is a requirement for all funding applications giving emphasis to the phrase ‘nothing about us, without us’. All RDS regions have public contributor teams to support their work and this month's blog documents our 360° look at what that looks like in the East Midlands, highlighting the value and impact of their work from the viewpoints of the public contributors, RDS advisers and researchers.
Optimising recruitment to a clinical trial
In this month’s blog post, we hear from Irene Stratton from RDS South Central about how to optimise recruitment to clinical trials – a key part of any successful research application and critical to successful study delivery.
Key messages from the Thinking Ahead Study: Barriers and Enablers to End of Life Care Planning with Ethnically Diverse Patients, their Family and Health Care Professionals
Linking in with 'Dying Matters' awareness week, our guest blog talks about an important research project that looked into the barriers and enablers to end of life care planning with ethnically diverse patients, their family and health care professionals. Coming out of the project are stories, an e-learning programme and the first of a series of short videos looking at the key messages arising from the research. Discussing end of life care is difficult but this team provides you with the tools to have those conversations whilst remaining culturally sensitive to people's needs.
Celebrating young people making a difference in health research
In this month’s post, we hear from some young people making a big impact. Kent, Surrey, and Sussex Young People’s Advisory Group (YPAG KSS) advise researchers from across the region on projects involving children and young people in order to help them improve their plans. Here, Group members reflect on the benefits they can bring to research projects, why they joined YPAG, and what they have gained from it.
All systems go: systems thinking in public health research
This blog post introduces some key concepts and methods in systems approaches to public health research, taking learning gained from a presentation to RDS East Midlands by Dr Elizabeth McGill and Professor Matt Egan from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Making a case for the priority of a research topic
Funding applications are judged on a variety of criteria. The first things that the committee will want to assess before they dig deeper is 'does this proposal address a known need?', 'what knowledge gap or uncertainties will this project answer?', 'why does this research need to be done now?' and 'what will the impact be if this question is answered?'. Read our blog this month to find out how to justify your research question and how using the James Lind Alliance priorities can support you with this.
Your RDS adviser – a steadfast travelling companion
It's the new year, you have a research idea - what next? Start your research design journey with the RDS, we support researchers at all stages of preparing funding applications and the evidence shows that you are more likely to get funding if you use your local RDS than if you go it alone. Find out more about how we can help in this month's blog.
Is research really for everyone?
The definition and scope of EDI is often misunderstood and limited to only considering ethnicity and gender. In reality, EDI is about involving so many more groups such as LGBTQ+ communities, people with learning disabilities, people with educational disadvantage, people living in rural communities, etc. It is also about avoiding potential language barriers and digital exclusion. Our RDSblog this month explores EDI and makes you ask yourself the question: is this research really for everyone?
Beware – bias ahead!
Bias exists in all research. It can occur at any stage of the research process and if not considered carefully, bias can impact the validity and reliability of the study findings. Our blog this month aims to help you better understand bias and take measures to avoid it.
‘Talking about… patient and public involvement (PPI) in mental health research’ – a new video series from the NIHR Mental Health Research Incubator
The Mental Health Research Incubator launches a new video series ‘Talking about… patient and public involvement in mental health research’. In this blog, three contributors, Heather and Gail (public contributors) and Jo (RDS SW PPI Lead) introduce the series.
Navigating the Innovation Pathway
Do you have an idea for a product but feel like a rabbit in the headlights when you look at putting together an i4i application? You're not alone, our blog this month will provide you with a few tips and our seminar will introduce you to the support around i4i applications that you'll need to draw on.
Raising the Public Involvement Standards in the RDS: A Tale of One RDS Hub
Patient and public involvement has been an essential element of research funding applications for some years and the RDS has made inroads into making it also an essential element to how we work. Our blog this month shows how integrated we're making our public contributor teams to our advice giving and that as with applications there are great benefits from such inclusion.
What are funding committees looking for?
Who better to find out about what funding committees are looking for in your application than the director of one of the NIHR programmes. This month we're doing just that and featuring a guest blog from the NIHR Health Technology Assessment programme!
Reflections on a co-production podcast series
Our blog this month features a conversation between two public contributors reflecting on their experiences of working on ‘That Co-production Podcast!’ recorded during the lockdown.
Platform trials: full steam ahead?
Funders are always looking for efficiencies and value for money in any research and so there is much interest in innovative trial designs. Read our blog this month to find out about one such desgin - the platform trial which uses the golden standard of a clinical trial but evaluates multiple treatments simultaneously.
Getting Knowledge Mobilisation Embedded in Research
Our RDSblog this month will show you some ways to embed knowledge mobilisation throughout your research - a vital part of any applied health and social care project. Knowledge mobilisation (KMb) is often used as an umbrella term covering impact and the timely movement of research into practice. Read on to find out more about how to plan KMb and where to find support.
Reprioritising public health and supporting good quality NIHR PHR applications
Public health research generates evidence around factors which determine population health. The objective is to use this evidence to propose interventions and policies to help improve health and well-being and reduce health inequalities. It sounds easy and yet requires navigating multi-agency collaborative partnerships, with often differing priorities, to deliver good research. Our blog this month discusses the issues and signposts to the support teams will need.
The role of qualitative research in informing health economic evaluations
Part of our role in the RDS is to to provide guidance on the best methodologies to answer your research question. At times, this can involve using different approaches and combinations that may be new to research teams. Our RDSblog this month addresses one such situation, the role qualitative research can play in informing health economic evaluations.
‘’I can’t hear you, you are on mute’’: navigating RDS virtual meetings
As we start 2021 we are still in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and continue our support for researchers online. We learnt a lot in the past year about how to move consultation online whilst ensuring that we don't lose our personal touch or fall foul of technologies quirks. Our blog this month is full of those acquired hints and tips, supporting you to make the most of your online meetings.
Qualitative Research and PPI – Some similarities, quite a lot of differences!
Have you ever wondered – or been asked – about the differences between patient and public involvement (PPI) activities and qualitative research? Our RDSblog this month explores this issue.
Using health and social care data for research
Routinely collected data contain large quantities of health and social care information, usually covering whole populations and often spanning prolonged time periods. Such data can be repurposed and underpin new research whilst reducing costs, time and resources. Until recently accessing this data has been a big challenge, but joint efforts are underway to improve this.
Innovative research design in action: how the Research Design Service can help
A big push in research is to increase the efficiency and pace of studies. Innovative design methods can play a role in that by allowing multiple questions to be answered in a single study. Find out more about what you could use in your study and how the RDS can help you navigate the challenges.
The RDS Model of Support for Social Care Research
Social care has risen up the political agenda and there has been an injection of funds into social care research but there are some serious challenges faced by social care researchers. Our RDSblog this month looks at those challenges and introduces an RDS model of support to help researchers engage and develop competitive and relevant social care applications.
The COVID-19 pandemic creates a myriad of research questions and ideas: An economic perspective
Despite being an indispensable part of research for many funding bodies and programs, health economics is still an enigma for many researchers. Our RDSblog this month looks at the economic questions we need to incorporate into our research and illustrates how health economics can be used to support public health, health promotion, and disease prevention policies such as the ones we've seen during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Working in partnership to develop public health research: An RDS perspective
Public Health Research aims to generate evidence on issues that determine population health such as genetic, environmental, and social factors. The objective is then to use this knowledge to propose interventions and policies, to help improve health and well-being and reduce health inequalities. Find out here what the RDS is doing to support this effort and how in turn we can help you apply for funding.
Equality, diversity and inclusion in health and social care research: COVID-19 and beyond
Promoting equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in research is about emphasising that every person eligible to take part should be offered the same opportunity to do so regardless of socio-economic deprivation and personal characteristics such as age and sex. Researchers wishing to apply for NIHR funding need to demonstrate how issues around equality, diversity and inclusion have been considered in their research plans and what steps have been taken to ensure that the research sample is representative of the population at which the study is targeted. Our blog this month highlights the importance of promoting EDI in research, how these issues have been highlighted by the current COVID-19 pandemic, and how your local Research Design Service can help you address these crucial issues in your research plans.
Public involvement during a pandemic: how we are supporting researchers
Public involvement is a vital ingredient in any research funding application. However, due to lockdown many of our go-to methods for including and involving people in the design process have become redundant. So this month, our blog is a supportive guide on how to continue to do public involvement during the current Covid-19 pandemic. We hope you find it helpful.
Our new normal; still your RDS
Despite the ongoing situation with Coronavirus (COVID-19) RDS will continue to support people developing applications for health and social care research. Our blog this month talks about how we have stopped face-to-face meetings and have moved to a virtual consultation service using email, telephone and videoconferencing.
Social care research – a heated debate….?
Social care research is a priority area for NIHR funding with many new opportunities for social care practitioners and researchers. But where do things stand regarding robust research methodologies that can be used to build an evidence-base for effective social care practice? Do we need to have a heated debate....?
Using natural experiments to evaluate population health interventions
Population health interventions are essential to reduce health inequalities and tackle other public health priorities, but often due to practical, political and ethical reasons they are not amenable to randomised trial manipulation. Natural experiment approaches are a way of providing evidence in such circumstances, but as our blog this month discusses they need to draw on a combination of methods to deliver results.
A short introduction to the ‘i4i Champions’
Introducing our RDS experienced advisers with extra i4i training to help support the move into advising SMEs with their invention for innovation applications.
Sample size - what difference matters?
The Minimum Clinically Important Difference is a key aspect of any study that evaluates a healthcare intervention. It encourages you, as a researcher, to think about and try to cautiously estimate the impact that the intervention, and therefore your research, can make.
Improving the efficiency of clinical trials with adaptive designs
Clinical trials have been very successful in evaluating the effectiveness of new treatments. However, over recent years the cost of trials has been steadily increasing, putting pressure on limited healthcare and research resources. Our blog this month talks about the adaptive design approach to improve efficiency.
Less is more! The power of the Plain English Summary
A good quality plain English summary (PES) provides an overview of the whole of your research study, so that readers can understand the first time they read it. It sounds easy doesn't it, yet many applications fall at this first hurdle. Read this month's blog to find out how to improve your PES and catch the funding stream's eye.
Getting stuck into CoPro
Ever wanted to see what Co-production would look like in practice? Our blog this month is a supurb example of how it is possible even when you start out as a novice to the process.
Don't let your research sit on the shelf!
Applied health and social care research is all about finding better ways to prevent ill health, treat diseases and improve services, with the ultimate goal of influencing changes in practice. This month’s blog talks about how to use your dissemination plans wisely throughout your research project to raise awareness, reach influencers and build your network.
Cost it right!
The whole business of submitting applications is to obtain funding to carry out your research, so you need to make sure your bid is properly costed. This month's blog guides you through all the aspects you will need to consider, where to look for guidance and tools that will help you get the right result.
Making an impact with your research
Demonstrating research impact is becoming increasingly important, as funders need to be confident that they are investing public money in projects that will benefit people living with health conditions or using services. There are many different ways of thinking about impact and our blog this month guides you through the steps to help you write your own impact plan.
Inspired - but is your research idea novel?
We can all have great ideas for research, but if you're intending to apply for funding it's vital that you check your idea is novel. It's the first check any funding panel will make, so let us help you jump that first hurdle and follow the tips in this month's RDSblog.
The Monday Morning Moral Maze
Considering ethics at research design stage is vital to strengthen your funding application! Read our case study which illuminates that even seemingly low risk studies can raise considerable concerns.
Minding your Ps and Qs
In the increasingly competitive world of research funding, just how do you stand out from the crowd and ensure your project lands on the top of the funding pile? Read this month's blog and make sure you have the essential ingredients for success.
Demystifying Public Involvement with Young People
'Never work with children (young people) or animals' or so the quote goes, well we're just going to change your mind with this month's blog on the inspiring young adult patient and public involvement group YAPPI!
Keep Calm and Call the RDS
We all have research ideas bubbling under the surface just waiting for a commissioned call that fits our research idea perfectly... only thing to do now is to turn it into an application! Read on to see what's needed to craft a quality application even with a tight turnaround time.
Top Tips for Climbing the Intellectual Property Ladder
Intellectual Property: What is it and why does it matter? Identifying where Intellectual Property exists is the first step, as unless it is identified, it cannot be captured, protected and exploited. Read our latest blog and we'll help guide you through IP.
Another day, another tip for a social care (and beyond) research proposal
So as NIHR sets its sights on funding research ideas from the social care front-line what does this mean for researchers? Read our latest blog and pick up some great tips on how to focus your application and think about the impact it will have on services, recipients and their careers.
Applying for NIHR Fellowships: An Insides View
NIHR Fellowships are all about supporting individuals with the potential to become future leaders in health and social care research. They are prestigious and highly competitive awards! Give yourself the best chance for success by attending RDS one-to-one advice sessions, seminars, workshops, mock interviews and read about our insider knowledge of the panel!
Sometimes you just have to jump in and make a splash! Co-producing research with patients, carers and public partners
Do you think that 'co-production' is just the latest buzz word in research? Read on, as this month we are celebrating the benefits, sharing good practice and demonstrating that co-production might be the quickest way to get your research recommendations implemented into practice!
Putting the Quality into Qualitative Research
Quality in qualitative research, why is this an issue? Why is this important? Our blog this month highlights the common NIHR panel feedback issues around qualitative research, showing you how to navigate them whilst making the most of the variety and vast number of methods qualitative research has to offer.
The Importance of the Research Question
Can you tell us in three sentences what your research is about and why it's important? No? Read our blog to find ways to hone your research question and become more competitive for funding.
Time to Write?
Are you struggling to make time to write your grant application? Our grant development and writing retreat might be just what you need!
In our first blog, Claire Rosten writes about how the RDS can be your critical friend and worth getting to know before you make a research application.